108: Staying in the Game with Alex Collins
My guest this week is Alex Collins. He’s an actor, a teacher, an advocate for actors, and co-founder of Beyond Acting, which was designed to help actors with everything they didn’t learn in acting class. He’s an outspoken person for the Atlanta acting community and he leads with factual, researched information proving to be a trusted voice we can always count on. I’ve known Alex for many years, as we’ve been colleagues in the acting business, and have always placed a lot of value on his insight & experience so I’m excited to introduce you all to him today!
In this chat, Alex shares how he became an actor but before he went pro, he actually dropped out of his first two acting classes. In the end, he became a full time actor despite originally being a hobbyist. We also discuss his experience as a soccer player & how he wasn’t in it for the long haul. He shares what giving up his dream of soccer did to him emotionally, but how those trials helped him as an artist and that’s what it’s all about! Constant growth and evolution.
One of my favorite parts of the chat was Alex’s take on set etiquette for actors. One of the biggest takeaways he gives is “read the room.” Respect other people’s energy & don’t try to force conversations or photos to document that you were there. Actors are on set to do a job. While it’s important to get out and observe, it’s equally as important to make sure you are not creating any issues. Alex says not to hide in your trailer because you can always learn more about the production and who the players are by paying attention to what’s happening around you.
“You cannot be a secret and be a success.” – DaJuan Johnson
We also discuss handling money as an independent contractor – side jobs are not a dirty word. Actors always need outside sources of income. Think about the longevity of your body in choosing a job that you can do for a long time. What do you enjoy?
Did you know Alex plays a superhero on The CW’s Stargirl? We dive into his role as Dr. MidNite aka Charles McNider and how it took him 2 decades to book a superhero franchise with the DC Universe. His character even has an action figure! Stargirl is a dream set to work on so of course we sing the praises of everyone we have met there.
Something he and I both agree on is the importance of having a life outside of the business. It helps to manage the emotions of the roller coaster of the business & it helps support you in the lean times. Compartmentalizing the emotions is also super important so they don’t overtake you. This business is a series of stops and starts. You can be on a show, then when it wraps you’re back at the end of the line waiting in the que for your next gig. Don’t forget that two steps forward & one step back is still positive, forward momentum. You just have to show up as honest & transparent as you can be and you’ll land where you’re meant to be.
“Stop trying to decipher what “they” want and be the most open vessel you can be.”
Alex shares some wise words from his mentor, Stan Kirsch. Stay in it. San meant it in terms of staying in the scene, but Alex expands on it saying “stay in the business, the pursuit, the marathon. If you aren’t dressed then you wont be on the bench. If you aren’t on the bench, you can’t play the game. If you’re not in the game, you can’t do what you’ve done for years in practice. If you’re not in the game you can’t explode onto the scene and build a career.” Wise words indeed.
If you want to keep up with Alex online, you can find him on Instagram @alexbcollins & @beyondacting. He’s on Twitter @alexcollinsacts & he manages a Facebook group called The Approach. All of these are wonderful resources for actors trying to learn more about the business & grow their career.
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